February 3-6, 2017
Maui was the second part of our Hawaii adventure and I was so excited. We decided to stay just north of Lahaina, which is the west end of the island. We decided on the area because of its proximity to things to do, cost and distance to airport. We rented a car which was actually very affordable and helped us visit some towns we would have not gotten to otherwise. Here is a list of areas we went to, things we did and the highlight of the trip for me Haleakala National Park!!
Population 2,668 (2010) ♦ Location 20°54′38″N 156°22′35″W ♦ Elevation 230′ Nickname World Capital of Windsurfing ♦ Fact Last town heading east on Hana Hwy
Paia is about twenty minutes east of the airport. We couldn’t check into the place we rented so we decided to check out some areas before heading to Lahaina. Paia was a small cute town with restaurants, shops and art galleries. Baldwin Beach Park is also there, which has free parking and access to the beautiful beach right there. It’s a very raw and natural beach. No frills, just have a picnic and enjoy the sand and water.
We walked around, window shopped and got an incredible smoothie at Mana Foods.
We then drove to Honolua Bay. Incredibly beautiful but rough waters, rocky shoreline and a small beach. There is some snorkeling along a small coral reef. It is really known for the surfing. The area holds the Billabong Pro Women’s Surf tournament every December. We walked down to the water and the sand was a bit rough as well, but the drive was awesome. Beautiful windy road, cliffs and the blue blue water!
This was the popular beach near Lahaina. Around 3 miles long, with beautiful sand, clear water and restaurants and hotels that line the boardwalk. We parked at Whalers Village and it was a quick walk to the boardwalk. There are cheap snorkel and SUP board rentals all along there. The water was great for SUPing, snorkeling and kids to play in. Turtles are the find and the guys saw a lot. We grabbed lunch at Hula Grill and ate on the beach. We tanned, we people watched, we got ice cream, it was a day in heaven.
The other awesome thing about Maui in February is it’s high time for whales. Every 10 or so minutes you would see one come up, breach or a spout. It was pretty amazing. These whales come from Alaska during the winter to mate and give birth. It was pretty amazing to us since we were in Alaska last fall.
Pacific Whale Foundation (Whale Watching)
We wanted to go whale watching again since we didn’t see that many in Oahu and everyone was saying that we would see tons in Maui because that is their preferred island due to the warmer water. We looked through a couple companies and when we came across Pacific Whale Foundation we knew this was the right company to go with. Established in 1980, they are dedicated to the preservation of whales with non-invasive and ethical whale research.Your payment of course goes towards the tour, but it also goes towards their cause. All the guides were marine biologists and had a passion for the water and these animals. No swimming with dolphins, no capturing animals and no animals are on display.
Their fee was incredibly cheap and the boat was amazing and beautiful. You can read more about their cause here: Pacific Whale Foundation
If you are interested in booking you can do it here: Whale Watch Tour
We got lucky as we came across a mom and her baby who were very active and right at the beginning of the tour! It was fun hearing the tour guides geek out a bit about it. They were just as into watching them as we were. The baby was the most active, but sometimes they would breach in unison. It was amazing.
When you make a reservation they tell you that you need to be there 45 minutes ahead of time to check in at their office on main street and then walk over to the pier. There was parking all along the street and a large parking lot about 2 blocks past it on the left. We thought 30 minutes would have been fine to check in, use the restroom and get in line.
This was a cute outside mall. Of course it’s a lot of beach shops, some high end shops like Kate Spade and ice cream! Hagan Daas has some incredible shakes and on a hot day it was awesome. There is also a whaling museum, hula lessons and ukulele lessons. If you aren’t staying at a hotel, this is the most convenient parking.
- Parking is at $3 per half hour.
- Up to 6 hours of complimentary parking is available with validation.
- Entrance is located on Ka`anapali Parkway.
Front Street in Lahaina
Population 11,704 (2010) ♦ Location 20°53′10″N 156°40′29″W ♦ Elevation 2′ ♦ Fact Was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii 1820 to 1845
This was a fun street to walk and to check out the sunset. We watched a couple get engaged as the sun went down. I am a sucker for engagements. Shops and restaurants line the street. We were looking for some cheap eats. To do this you have to walk off the main road a couple blocks. We found Shark Pit Social a fun Asian taco place two blocks off the main street. We ordered the corn on the cob because it was the first time we saw the price for corn on the cob be: MP. It was delicious!
We then found a taco truck and had one more taco at Ono Taco:
The next night we came to the area for dinner and decided on Koa’s Seaside Grill. They had a roof top deck that over looked the water and again, it was amazing for sunsets! It was a weird spot, you have to walk through a store to get there. It was really good food, but the best part was the buttery, warm bread they give you before dinner.
We were here on Superbowl Sunday!! Kevin and I watch football but we religiously watch the Superbowl. We wanted to find a fun place with tvs outside and we were in luck with Down The Hatch close to the pier where all the tours go out of. We sat outside, had happy hour and watched the game! I so thought the Falcons had it! At least the game was good and the food was REALLY good!
Population 6,452 (2010) ♦ Location 20° 47′ 32″ N, 156° 19′ 37″ W ♦ Elevation 1,600′-3,600′ ♦ Fact Kula means Open Meadows
Kula is the last town on the Pilani Highway towards Haleakala National Park that you can stop for a decent bite to eat. We were pleasantly surprised with the lunch menu at Kula Bistro. They don’t open until 11 a.m. so don’t get there too early! Other than this and a small market there isn’t much to this town. They are higher up on a hill so they do have some great views but that’s it.
Population 26,337 (2010) ♦ Location 20° 52′ 54″ N, 156° 28′ 3″ W ♦ Elevation 0′ ♦ Total Area 33,265 acres
Kahului is a large area just south west of the airport. It is not considered a tourist area and we could see why. It’s mostly a lot of large stores, malls and chain restaurants.We were in the area to hang out before our flight, so at least we were entertained with options. We found dinner at Da Kitchen Cafe. Traditional Hawaiian food. It’s a place to try that is different and not the chains down the street.
Haleakalā National Park
Established July 1, 1961 26,337 ♦ Location 20° 43′ 0″ N, 156° 10′ 0″ W ♦ Elevation 0′ ♦ Fact Haleakalā means House of the Sun ♦ Visitors 1,263,558 (in 2016) ♦ Fun Fact Nēnē is a local bird that died out in the park. In 1946 local boy scouts reintroduced the bird by carrying them to the crater in their backpacks.
From the short amount of time we had at Haleakalā National Park, we were blown away. After living in California for 10 years, green hasn’t been a color in nature that we saw a lot. Here, on the other hand, it was GREEN! At one point I had to look at my camera because I thought it was on a weird setting. No, it’s just that beautiful and green. Read about our hike (2/52 in our challenge!) and our time here: Pipiwai Trail
That was our Hawaii adventure. We were so happy that we were able to experience some of the islands of this amazing state!
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